Welfare Payment Cuts: Chris Grayling Refused To Hear Case Of Breast Cancer Sufferer

The Huffington Post UK  |  By Dina Rickman Posted: 25/06/2012 18:40 Updated: 25/06/2012 18:40

A government minister has refused to meet with an MP about her constituent suffering from breast cancer whose benefits have been cut.

Helen Goodman expressed her shock after employment minister Chris Grayling said he would not meet with her about the 43-year-old woman.

The Labour MP, who used to be a minister in the Department for Work and Pensions, told The Huffington Post UK: “It’s not just the appalling way the benefits system is treating people like this at the moment, but also we used to have meetings with MPs if there were particularly hard or serious cases. If the ministers won’t do that how are they going to know what’s really going on.”

Grayling: Refused a meeting over woman with breast cancer whose benefits have been cut

 

Goodman asked for a meeting about the woman, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in July 2010 and deemed fit for work by ATOS a year later, on Monday in the House of Commons. However her request was refused.

“He said no, we don’t have meetings like that about individual cases, which just completely amazed me and another colleague that used to be a minister in that department. The reason they’re not having meetings is they’ve made such a hash of the benefit reforms.”

ann treneman@anntreneman ann treneman Chris grayling urges cancer sufferers to return to work asap as its better than a life on benefits. I find that just bizarre. June 25, 2012 1:46 pm via Twitter for BlackBerry® Reply Retweet Favorite

Goodman, who claims her constituent’s story is “not unique”, is concerned about her constituent, who is in remission.

“My main concern is that she’s not on the higher rate of benefit, their messing about has caused her a lot of financial problems and if you are in remission from cancer what you don’t need is a lot of stress and anxiety.”

The Bishop Auckland MP says her constituent’ successfully appealed against being found fit to work in January 2012 but was put on Job Seekers’ Allowance again by April 2012.

Her employer has held her position open but as the woman’s doctor has not signed her off as fit to work after her cancer, she cannot yet re-employ for her job.

She suffers from panic attacks, depression and has had surgery restricting her mobility.

“The government have been very insensitive in their treatment of people with cancer. The introduction of the 365 day rule – which means you get your benefits cut off after a year, irrespective of your situation – this is particularly bad for people who are or have been seriously ill,” she said.

Helen Goodman@HelenGoodmanMP Helen Goodman Minister refuses meeting to discuss case of cancer patient turned down for benefit. Labour ministers always had meetings on hard cases. June 25, 2012 1:49 pm via Twitter for BlackBerry® Reply Retweet Favorite

A DWP spokesperson said Grayling had made it clear he could not get involved in an individual case, saying: “MPs who have concerns over constituents’ cases can raise them with the department.”

Read their exchange in the Commons below

Helen Goodman: My constituent was treated for breast cancer in July 2010. She was deemed fit for work by Atos before the post-op results were received. The tribunal found in her favour and awarded her employment and support allowance in January 2012. However, her ESA entitlement was stopped in April because of the introduction of the government’s 365-day rule. She was reassessed in May 2012 and found fit for work again. Her employer has held her job open but cannot re-employ her until she is deemed fit for work by her doctor. This is obviously extremely bad for her health. Will the Minister agree to meet me about this case?

Chris Grayling:

It is obviously very difficult to talk about an individual case, and I am afraid that I make it a matter of policy that ministers do not become involved in individual cases. What I would say is that it is extremely important that we provide support for all cancer sufferers who can potentially return to work to do so at the earliest opportunity. That is much better for them than being stuck at home on benefits.

The news comes as David Cameron revealed he was mooting fresh cuts to benefit, including housing benefit for under 25s and child benefit for those with big families.

The Huffington Post

Comments
  • A J HINDLE June 26, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    To give Helen Goodman her due when she was a Minister at the DWP she personally replied to a question I had asked via my MP and in some detail,no reply is even afforded by the current Ministers that I have requested via the same manner.

  • Andy Mayer June 26, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    This person should be totally ashamed, as i keep saying this is the NAZI Party

  • jeffery davies June 27, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    welcome to the world of atos where jesus walks the corriders fixing people as they come in for the grillings on can you bend your arm or leg look up look down ah i see yo ufit for work dont woryy as its not us who deduct your moneys only the rotten dwp so no worry off me atos do good fixed ready for work as soon as you outside the do you are fixed jeff3

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